Once upon a time there was a youth pastor who lived in a house that he had built atop a rock. He had lived in the house for as long as he could recall. The rock upon which the house was built was large and beautiful. Although there were many rocks cut from the same stone, his was one-of-a-kind; worn and beaten by years of terrifying waves and winter storms, it had gained a unique luster and sheen that added to its beauty. It was not perfect, and the youth pastor did not understand it completely, but it was his, and he loved it.
Young people from the surrounding area would come to inquire about the rock. “Where did you get your rock?” they would ask.
“It was a gift,” the youth pastor would respond.
Many would ask about the rock and then go on their way. But one day a boy came along and said, “I’m building a house. Will you show me how to get a rock like yours?”
“I’m glad you asked!” the youth pastor responded. Before either could utter another word, the youth pastor ran to his supply of stone and began carving away. Chipping the brittle corners, sanding the rough edges, and carving out nooks. After a time, he called the boy to come behold the rock he had shaped for him.
“What do you think?” the youth pastor asked proudly. The boy surveyed the rock thoughtfully for a few moments.
“It looks just like yours,” the boy finally said.
“Of course!” The youth pastor responded. “I’ve spent years watching my own rock get worn and shaped by the storms and waves of life. I figured I’d save you the trouble of having to go through all of the long worrisome winters that I’ve endured.”
The boy apologized, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t what I’m looking for. I’m not even sure my house will fit properly. Thank you very much for all you’ve done, but I can’t use this rock.”
“I don’t understand,” the youth pastor said with dismay, “I thought this was what you wanted.”
“No,” the boy said. “What I wanted was for you to show me how to get a rock like yours. Instead you gave me a copy of your own rock, which I cannot use. You have shown me nothing, and I have nowhere to build my house.”
The boy and the youth pastor were both very sad for neither got what they wanted.